Domestic abuse statistics revealed

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson and Chief Constable Phil Gormley.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson and Chief Constable Phil Gormley.
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The levels of domestic abuse reported to Police Scotland have dropped by 3% over the past year.

The figures published today show that in 2015/16 there were 58,104 incidents of domestic abuse compared to 59,882 in 2014/15.

In line with statistics from previous years, in 80% of cases the victim was female while 20% were male victims.

In half of reported domestic abuse cases, the victim, accused or both were already known to police for previous incidents.

The statistics also show the location of domestic abuse incidents, with 87% happening in the home.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Scotland will not tolerate the scourge of domestic abuse. Nobody should live in fear at home or within their wider community and we continue to do everything we can to eradicate this type of violence and support victims to have the confidence to come forward and report the crimes committed against them.

“We welcome the drop in the number of domestic abuse incidents recorded, against a backdrop of an overall fall in recorded crime, and we remain confident that more victims are refusing to stay quiet about what is happening to them. I believe this is in no small part down to better understanding of this unacceptable behaviour and the support services available for those in need.

“Earlier this month we announced an extra £665,000 to expand advice and support services for victims of gender-based violence, through the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre. We have also invested £7.2 million over three years (2015-18) to ensure court waiting times for domestic abuse cases are prioritised, and created a new domestic abuse aggravation.

“We are now preparing new legislation to tackle domestic abuse which takes the form of controlling and coercive behaviour, widening our laws to reflect the damage of this kind of psychological abuse.”

Mhairi McGowan of specialist independent domestic abuse advocacy service ASSIST said: “It’s important as a society that we continue to develop our response to domestic abuse. There has been huge progress, but there is still a lot to do before all victims are safe and domestic abuse is eradicated.

“In particular, I hope that the proposed new offence covering emotional and psychological abuse will be introduced, so that victims who are currently suffering in silence will be able to come forward and report what is happening. It is imperative that the message is made loud and clear to victims and to those who perpetrate it that abuse in all its forms will not be tolerated and therefore combatting domestic abuse must continue to be a priority for all of us.

“It is also very important that actions are agreed by the Joint Strategic Board implementing Equally Safe to continue to drive progress across all sectors of Scottish society.”